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. Electric forklift operators must have sufficient information on safety, there are general regulations related to the use of the forklift.

In principle, forklifts or electric trucks that previously come with the CE marking must be used, they must also have the instruction manual and these devices must have been put into conformity following the specific regulation RD 1215/97.

Safety in the Use of Electric Forklifts:

Check that the batteries of the electric forklift are fully charged and connected, all the caps for filling the elements must be closed and they must be covered before leaving. No tools or metal parts should be placed on or near the battery, nor should you smoke or light a fire near a charging battery, or on top of a fuel can when refueling.

Check the charge of the batteries of the electric forklift

You have to take into account certain precautions regarding the batteries of electric trucks:

The batteries have sulfuric acid and distilled water, you have to be careful when filling with water so that no spills or splashes occur.
Batteries give off gases through open caps and accumulating increases the risk of an explosion.
You should not use the battery below 30% charge, because the electric forklift deteriorates and the systems may fail.

The electric forklift trucks must have a rotating or flash type light indicator and also an acoustic signal for reversing. When the forklift circulates through the company, it must be verified that the operator or driver has the authorization, training and specific information set by the PRL that appears in RD 1215/97 of July 18.

If the mobile phone is used while driving the machine, a hands-free system must be used. The forklift seat and controls must be adjusted in the proper position, the rear view mirrors, windshields and mirrors of the forklift or electric forklift must be kept clean to always ensure good visibility.

The cab of the forklift should be kept clean:

It is important that there are no traces of oil or grease, mud or any  object inside the control compartment. The driver of the machine must be careful and clean his footwear when he gets on the truck, in this way the interior is kept free of foreign elements.

The forklift must be raised and lowered only through the access indicated by the manufacturer, the labels with information on risks must be kept visible. Check that there is a fire extinguisher on the lift truck and keep all accesses, stairs or handles clean.

The use and maintenance of the forklift or electric forklift is essential to avoid any type of accident, for this the machine must be operated only from the driver’s seat and other workers or people must not be allowed in the area action of the truck.

The forklift must not be used as a means of transporting people, only if the machine has been designed with seats for this purpose by the manufacturer himself. When it is in motion, you should not get on or off the truck and while driving you should use restraint systems that guarantee safety, belt, cabin, etc.

While the engine is stopped or in neutral, never go downhill straight ahead and entering or exiting the works should be done with caution or with the help of a signalman. If the operations are complicated and dangerous maneuvers, the driver must use an expert signalman.

The operator must maintain visual contact with other workers or moving equipment in the workplace. To avoid collisions, the routes must be marked. If the machine circulates in closed places, there must be adequate ventilation so that the gases are evacuated.

Safety rules at the end of the use of a forklift

Whether we have acquired a vehicle or if we have opted for the rental of forklifts, we have to think that there are a series of checks and good practices in terms of safety that we should carry out for our own good and that of our colleagues. Normally when we work with machinery we pay close attention to compliance with safety regulations before or while we are in the forklift, but we neglect what to do once we have finished our day.

Safety regulations must be strictly adhered to. Warehouse managers are already trying to do pedagogy and ensure that employees scrupulously comply with current safety regulations. Along these lines, we could follow a series of recommendations that are aimed at reducing the deterioration of the equipment and consequently improving the safety of the person at the wheel and of the people who are working in the warehouse.

Forklift parking, brakes and forks

The first question that arises is: where do we park the truck? Regardless of whether it is a rental or purchase forklift, we have to park it in a planned place. That is, in a parking area that is protected from the elements. Obviously, you have to stop the forklift engine, set the holding brake and remove the ignition key. So far, the normal thing, since it is what we would do with any car if we want it to be safe.

One characteristic that the forklift parking space must have is that it must be flat. We cannot park the truck on a hill. In the event that we had to leave it in a place with a slope, we would have to chock the wheels, and obviously put the immobilization brake. When we park our truck, we will always have to remember that the fork has to be in the lowest position.

From the point of view of safety and the prevention of accidents and breakdowns, what is most important is that we do not have to touch any mechanical or electronic parts. Regardless of whether our vehicle is owned or whether we have opted for the rental of forklifts, we should not touch the settings at all. Obviously, if during our working day we had noticed any problem, when we finish our work it is time to let the supervisor know.

Safety recommendations when driving with forklifts

When we are in command of a model of forklift, safety has to be the top priority. When working with large loads, the danger increases, which is why we must increase attention and prevention. In the first place, to handle them we have to check that the driver is over the minimum age -18 years- and that he has received the appropriate training to drive this type of vehicle. Likewise, in addition to knowing how to work in command of these vehicles, they must have received adequate training in relation to the prevention of occupational hazards.

If we do not have specific personnel for the maintenance and charging of fuel or electric batteries, the forklift driver must have specific training and knowledge to carry out these tasks, which are essential to extend the life of the vehicle and improve the safety on board.

We must check the good condition of the tires and their pressure, as well as see that the brakes, steering, signaling and warning systems, oil and fuel levels are working properly. If we see that there is something that does not work as expected, we have to inform the person in charge of the warehouse.

Weight and type of Load

The most important safety rule that we have to follow when we are in command of a forklift is not to exceed the load limit that the manufacturer indicates to us. Much of the security problems derive from this factor. If we work with more load than it should, we are increasing the chances that the vehicle will not support the weight and we cause an accident that can compromise the health not only of the driver but also of the rest of the co-workers.

In addition to the weight, we have to pay special attention to whether the load is properly fixed on the forks, so that it has sufficient stability and cannot fall during the transfer due to braking, a small bump or a simple collision with another vehicle. Before we start driving, we have to do the same as we would in a normal car: look to the sides, and see that there is no vehicle in our way. Once we see that we have a clear path, we will start the forklift, and we will circulate at a reasonable speed.

Use acoustic and light signals to increase Safety

When determining speed, you must have several aspects related to safety: one is the type of load as well as the weight we transport and its volume. Another is the type of surface we work on, as well as the space we have to maneuver. If we work in a small warehouse, the movements should be slower and more careful, while if we work in a large warehouse, we can work with a somewhat higher speed and circulation will be easier.

If the load we are transporting is very bulky, we should choose to drive the forklift in reverse. Likewise, in the warehouse we have to respect the orders that those responsible have marked. We will not be able to drive in the opposite direction or skip the signals they have given us. The trucks are only used to transport goods, so we will not use the vehicle to transport other people. If necessary, we would use the light or acoustic signals available to the vehicle for this purpose.

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